Headaches in Horses
Tommy, fly mask burier, gets headaches.
Perhaps something to do with the compression in his neck (Wobbler Syndrome) but he gets tight in the poll. Tommy is a kind, sweet horse but then out of the blue he'll start pinning his ears as you walk by and get what can only be called as grumpy. He doesn't bite, lunge, or show any other signs of aggression or anger when he gets like this. He will still seek attention and be his kind self, but those ears pin, he'll pull away from you, and you can just tell something is wrong. For awhile, when I first got him, I would think it was behavior, but enough people started pointing it out and saying it wasn't normal aggressive/angry/mean behavior that we took a good look at it. He had a chiropractic adjustment about a year after I got him and it made a huge difference. I was taught several stretches and things to do to help him ... and a special movement to release the poll. In time, I found that when he had his "headaches" as I would call them, a good tug/release of the poll could make him go from pinned ears and avoiding back to happy go lucky Tommy like switching a switch. Over the years, it's become common - "looks like Tommy has a headache, he needs his poll released". I was lucky in that the behavior was obviously a pain response, not a mean response, and a lot of good horse people took the time to point it out and not just tell me that he was a mean horse.